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Performance Nutrition: Natural and Functional Ingredients

Introduction

The performance nutrition market initially focused on the development of nutritional products specifically designed for fitness enthusiasts and athletes. These products have been designed to enhance and optimize performance, recovery, and overall health and wellness.

However, the performance nutrition market has seen significant growth in recent years. This is a result of increased consumer awareness and attentiveness towards their health. As a result, this led to a rise in more health and fitness-conscious consumers and has seen performance nutrition products move beyond being a niche, towards a market of mass appeal. Some of these products include protein powders, sports drinks, energy bars, and dietary supplements.

Performance Nutrition, Sports Nutrition, Health And Wellness, Natural Ingredients, Functional Ingredients, FMCG, Consumer Insights, Market Research.

Proactive consumers

A significant proportion of performance nutrition consumers have adopted proactive approaches in addressing their holistic, overall health. This has meant consumers are recognizing the crucial link between how multiple areas of health have an impact on their general health and well-being. The most common area of health that consumers want to address is digestive health. For instance, FMCG Gurus’ consumer insights reveal that 56% of global consumers stated they have looked to improve their digestive health over the last six months. This highlights consumer awareness around the link between gut health and overall health. Following digestive health, consumers have also been looking to maintain and improve their cognitive health and their daily energy levels.

Natural Ingredients

With this shift towards health-conscious approaches, consumers have become more attentive to ingredients in food and drink. Many consumers are looking for food and drink that will give them a health boost beyond basic nutrition. FMCG Gurus’ market research shows that 67% of global consumers research different ingredients in food and drink most or all of the time. This suggests that consumers are looking for food and drink with natural, functional, and fortified claims and ingredients.

Additionally, consumers have employed an avoidance and moderation approach toward certain artificial ingredients and ‘dietary evils’. For instance, our market research demonstrates that 85% of global consumers are looking to avoid or minimize their intake of additives, and 88% are looking to avoid GMO products. Also, when purchasing sports nutrition products, 81% of global consumers stated natural claims are an important factor. This echoes a back-to-basics and raw and pure approach to nutrition. This approach demonstrates how consumers deem streamlined ingredient lists and natural ingredients appealing. These kinds of products will help performance nutrition consumers aid their health and boost daily energy levels.

Performance Nutrition, Sports Nutrition, Health And Wellness, Natural Ingredients, Functional Ingredients, FMCG, Consumer Insights, Market Research.

Functional Ingredients

Protein is a vital nutrient that plays a key role in muscle growth, repair, and overall health. In the performance and sports nutrition market, protein is incorporated into various food and drink categories to cater to the increasing consumer demand for protein-rich products. FMCG Gurus’ consumer insights reveal that 87% of global consumers are looking to maximize their intake of protein.

A large proportion of consumers in the mainstream market have shown interest in protein consumption in order to aid an active lifestyle, weight management, and overall wellness. Importantly, with consumers’ diverse needs and preferences, protein products are available in various food and drink formats and categories. FMCG Gurus’ consumer insights reveal that of consumers who use specific products to help facilitate their workout routines, 37% consume high-protein cookies every couple of days. Also, 38% consume high-protein porridge or fortified breakfast cereals every couple of days. This demonstrates that these consumers like to see protein-fortified foods in various different formats. As a result, brands should continue to focus on product innovation and the formulation of protein-enriched foods, including yogurts, cereals, snacks, and protein-infused beverages.

The article is based on FMCG Gurus: Performance Nutrition – Global Surveys 2023. For more information, please click here.

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Regions and Countries: Consumer Insights, FMCG, Functional Ingredients, Market Research, Natural, Performance Nutrition, Sports Nutrition

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Milk Trends: Health and Naturalness

Introduction

Milk trends have evolved to meet changing consumer preferences and health-conscious lifestyles. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, a large proportion of consumers have become more attentive to their health and wellness. As a result, many consumers adopted more mindful shopping habits, with a focus on ingredient lists and nutritional labeling. This approach has led to a growing demand for consumers following vegan or plant-based diets. For instance, dairy-free alternatives such as almond milk, soy milk, and oat milk have become more popular in recent years. FMCG Gurus’ consumer insights reveal that 30% of global respondents consume oat milk on a daily or weekly basis.

While these kinds of milk are on the rise, it is important to note that fresh milk still stands as the most popular type of milk. Despite this, some consumers are taking a proactive approach to their health and sustainability by seeking out more organic and natural milk.

Dairy, Plant-Based Milk, Vegan, Organic Milk, Natural Claims, Functional Claims, Nutritional Labeling, Consumer Insights, Market Research, FMCG

Dairy and Plant-Based Milk Alternatives

Plant-based milk alternatives are gaining popularity in the milk industry. For example, FMCG Gurus’ market research highlights a 9-12% increase in consumers drinking plant-based alternative milk at least weekly since 2017. Almond milk has seen the highest increase since 2017. This illustrates a growing proportion of consumers who are following a diet that involves an avoidance or moderation of animal products. Many consumers are opting for these options due to health, environmental, and ethical concerns.

However, our findings show that fresh milk has seen a 29% increase since 2017. This demonstrates that fresh milk dominates the milk market. It is important to highlight that the increased consumption of fresh milk may have been influenced by people staying at home in 2021 due to the pandemic. As a result, people will have been eating breakfast cereal more frequently, as well as scratch cooking and baking. In addition, dairy milk has been a traditional staple for many years, due to its taste, nutritional value, and familiarity to consumers.

Dairy, Plant-Based Milk, Vegan, Organic Milk, Natural Claims, Functional Claims, Nutritional Labeling, Consumer Insights, Market Research, FMCG

Ensure Naturalness

With more emphasis on health and ingredients, consumers deem authenticity and naturalness important product attributes in the milk market. For instance, FMCG Gurus’ consumer insights demonstrate 74% of global consumers find purity claims important in the fresh milk category. This illustrates that consumers are avoiding and moderating ingredients deemed unnatural or artificial. These kinds of ingredients are associated with being detrimental to health and the environment. As a result, brands in the milk market should position products around clean labels and provide streamlined ingredient lists to enhance notions of naturalness.

In addition, naturalness is associated with higher quality and premium. This is particularly important during today’s cost of living crisis in which consumers are seeking out products they deem good value for money.

Promote Nutritional Labeling and Functional Ingredients

Nutritional labeling and functional ingredients have captured the attention of many consumers in recent years. FMCG Gurus’ market research reveals that 62% of global consumers check the nutritional labeling of Kefir or probiotic milk most or all of the time. This illustrates a focus on the functional, health-boosting benefits of milk. Some of the benefits of Kefir milk include improving cholesterol, blood sugar control, and gut health. Our findings demonstrate an increased demand for ‘good for you’ products to aid consumers’ long-term health and wellness.

Moreover, consumers prioritize checking for sugar and protein content when checking nutritional labeling. Our consumer insights highlight of consumers who check for nutritional labeling in the oat milk category, 65% check for sugar content, followed by 64% who look for protein content. This demonstrates how consumers are moderating their sugar intake to avoid health complications. Also, protein is a priority for consumers in the oat milk category. This suggests that consumers are increasing their intake of protein in their diet, due to nutritional benefits. As a result, brands should promote functional ingredients and nutritional value in milk products, without compromising on taste and sensory appeal.

The article is based on FMCG Gurus: Milk Trends – Global Report 2023. For more information, please click here.

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Regions and Countries: Consumer Insights, Dairy, FMCG, Market Research, Natural, Nutritional Labeling, Oat Milk, Plant-Based, Vegan

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Health and Wellness Trends in the Soft Drinks Market

Introduction

The cost-of-living crisis has caused many consumers to adopt recessionary shopping habits while they are looking for products that are affordable and good value for money. As a result, 35% of global consumers have demonstrated less brand loyalty in the soft drinks market over the last twelve months. Despite this, consumers remain proactive by prioritizing their health and seeking out nutritional soft drinks. Due to this, brands in this market should promote soft drinks as being in high functional ingredients and nutritional value. By doing so, this will enhance perceptions of value and consumers will deem these products as having maximum efficacy, which is essential during this recessionary period.

Natural and Transparent

While 60% of global consumers find natural ingredients in soft drinks appealing, streamlined ingredient lists are also of high appeal. Brands should be focusing on natural, raw, and pure ingredient lists, and promote free-from claims to enhance consumer perceptions of quality and value for money.

Equally, it is just as important that brands provide maximum transparency around ingredient lists and health claims. While many consumers are actively avoiding dietary evils, complex nutritional labelling can often create confusion and lead to skepticism. This is because consumers are aware of green-washing and health-washing scandals through exaggerated claims. FMCG Gurus’ consumer insights reveal that 51% of global consumers are concerned about the hidden ingredients in food and drink, disguised via complex labelling. As a result, brands should offer reassurance to consumers that there are no hidden ingredients through clear, simple labels, and clinically proven scientific evidence which support certain claims.

Sustainability

Consumers have expressed concern about the state of the wider environment and are aware of the impact that food and drink production causes. FMCG Gurus’ findings highlight that 42% of global consumers have made greater efforts to find more environmentally friendly beverage brands. Also, consumers are recognizing the links with environmental damage on their overall health. For instance, 67% of global consumers say they have changed their diet in the last two years to lead a more sustainable lifestyle and said they felt this made their diet healthier. This illustrates that consumers believe health and sustainability are interlinked and want products that are good for them and the wider environment. As a result, soft drink brands must make sure to implement sustainability credentials at the core of their philosophy to shape perceptions of green and clean production.

Moreover, to spread more awareness, soft drinks brands should highlight how sustainability credentials are directly linked to having a positive impact on the health and wellness of the consumer. This will not only create more awareness for the importance of sustainability for the planet and health, but also shape perceptions of value and quality, which is essential in a recessionary market.

Cost-of-Living

The cost-of-living crisis is having a direct impact on the health and wellness. FMCG Gurus’ consumer insights demonstrate that 43% of consumers felt they need to make changes to their health and wellness routines. This suggests that consumers deem healthy drinks more expensive. However, despite this adoption of recessionary spending habits, brands must understand that consumers are driven more by value for money as opposed to low cost. This means that consumers will not be seeking out the cheapest products because of the cost-of-living crisis, but instead will be trading up between soft drinks that are associated with maximum value.

To cater to this, brands should promote the efficacy of products, including multifunctional health benefits and health-boosting ingredients. This will appeal to a large proportion of proactive consumers, who are looking to adopt a prevention over cure approach to their long-term health and wellness.

This article is based on FMCG Gurus: Health & Wellness in the Soft Drinks Market – Global Report – 2023. For more information, please click here.

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Regions and Countries: Consumer Insights, FMCG, Food and Drink Industry, Health and Wellness, Market Research, Natural, Proactive Consumer, Sustainability

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Clean Label: Story-Telling and Transparency

Be Transparent

In recent years, consumers have become more attentive to the production processes behind the products they purchase. This is due to concerns regarding both the wider environment and consumers’ health and wellness. For instance, FMCG Gurus consumer insights highlight that 69% of global consumers say it is important for food and drink to be 100% natural. When asked why, the reasons ranged from clean label products being deemed better for them, more environmentally friendly, better quality, and more. This indicates that naturalness is associated with being beneficial in multiple ways and will shape perceptions of value around food and drink products. These product benefits are particularly important during today’s recessionary environment, in which consumers are seeking out food and drink products that they consider as being better value for money.

Nutritional Labeling, Clean Label, FMCG, Consumer Insights, Sustainability, Natural, Proactive Consumer, Smart Production, Regenerative Farming

Engage in Story-telling

Clean label refers to consumers seeking out natural food and drink products. In doing so, consumers want complete transparency about the production processes and supply chains of food and drink, so that they can understand how products have been sourced and formulated. This gives consumers the opportunity to make more informed shopping decisions by choosing products that have natural claims. Importantly, the phrase clean label is more of an industry-led term rather than a consumer-driven term. For this reason, only 44% of global consumers have heard of the phrase clean label, which indicates a slight knowledge gap around this term.

Despite this, 66% of global consumers find it important that food and drink products are healthy and nutritious. In addition, consumers have expressed the importance of products having additional health benefits and free from artificial ingredients. This indicates that although some consumers are not aware of the meaning of clean label, a large proportion of consumers want to understand the story behind food and drink products, so that they can shop responsibly and know more about the naturalness of the products they buy.

This highlights an opportunity for brands to communicate and engage with consumers through product story-telling. By adopting this transparent approach, brands can tell the story of exactly how products have been developed and show green and clean credentials across supply chains. This method of story-telling will allow brands to market and promote their products as authentic, enhance brand identity and provide reassurance for proactive consumers.

Nutritional Labeling, Clean Label, FMCG, Consumer Insights, Sustainability, Natural, Proactive Consumer, Smart Production, Regenerative Farming

Introduce Smart Production

Due to the importance of green and clean food and drink products, brands must be looking for smarter initiatives and strategies to ensure a more natural production process. One method of smart production is regenerative farming. This technique is seen as both better for the environment and the individual, which is a win-win for consumers.

Regenerative farming is a method of farming that makes sure soil, water, land, and natural resources are protected, as well as minimising carbon emissions. FMCG Gurus consumer insights highlight that this method of smart production is popular among consumers. For instance, 80% of global consumers have expressed that they would trust a company more if they were participating in regenerative farming and agriculture. The reasons for this were due to this process being better for the environment, health, and animal welfare. As this method aligns with being better for the environment and health, brands should be doing more to get involved in regenerative farming and transparently communicate credentials to enhance perceptions of value.

Maximum Simplicity

As more brands are using clean labels, consumer skepticism is growing. Over the last two years, consumers have become more skeptical around nutritional labeling and claims. FMCG Gurus market research reveals that 71% of global consumers believe nutritional labeling could be made simpler. This demonstrates that a significant number of consumers deem labels and ingredient lists on packaging confusing and complex. Some consumers feel that brands do this to disguise certain artificial ingredients. As a result, consumers look for simple, clear, and refined ingredient lists and claims which are backed up with clinically proven evidence to avoid greenwashing.

Brands should respond to skepticism by continuously looking for ways to make their production processes and nutritional labeling transparent, clear and simple for consumers to easily navigate when seeking out clean label food and drink. This will establish maximum levels of consumer trust for brands that do this.

In addition, if labels and ingredient lists are more stream-lined, this will build value around products, as consumers deem fewer, more familiar ingredients are better for you. However, during a time of reduced financial stability, a lack of trust, and rising prices, brands should be looking for ways to re-formulate their strategies to ensure products are good value for money.

This article is based on FMCG Gurus: What's New for Clean Label – Global Report – 2023. For more information, please click here.

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Regions and Countries: Clean Label, Consumer Insights, FMCG, Natural, Nutritional Labeling, Smart Production